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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Jan;37(1):73-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.10.012. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Neural correlates of personality: an integrative review.

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Research Centre-Military Mental Healthcare, Lundlaan 1, 3584 EZ Utrecht, The Netherlands.


This review examines the neural correlates of Gray's model (Gray and McNaughton, 2000; McNaughton and Corr, 2004), supplemented by a fourth dimension: constraint (Carver, 2005). The purpose of this review is to summarize findings from fMRI studies that tap on neural correlates of personality aspects in healthy subjects, in order to provide insight into the neural activity underlying human temperament. BAS-related personality traits were consistently reported to correlate positively to activity of the ventral and dorsal striatum and ventral PFC in response to positive stimuli. FFFS and BIS-related personality traits are positively correlated to activity in the amygdala in response to negative stimuli. There is limited evidence that constraint is associated with PFC and ACC activity. In conclusion, functional MRI research sheds some light on the specific neural networks underlying personality. It is clear that more sophisticated task paradigms are required, as well as personality questionnaires that effectively differentiate between BAS, FFFS, BIS, and constraint. Further research is proposed to potentially reveal new insight in the neural subsystems governing basic human behavior.

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